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Why a Presbyterian Elder Defended Muslims Construction a Mosque in Middl… | Information & Reporting – ChristianityToday.com

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Eric Treene has long gone to courtroom to protect Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and folks from different minority faiths for greater than 25 years. If you happen to ask him why, he issues to the Bible and the Westminster Confession. Treene, an elder within the Presbyterian Church in The united states, is motivated through his religion to protect non secular freedom—particularly the liberty of the ones he disagrees with.
Treene was once a legal professional for Becket after which, for just about twenty years, particular recommend for non secular discrimination within the civil rights department of the US Division of Justice. He evolved and oversaw the enforcement program for the Spiritual Land Use and Institutionalized Individuals Act (RLUIPA). Since leaving the government, Treene has taught the First Modification at Reformed Theological Seminary and Catholic College and continues to litigate discrimination circumstances as a senior spouse at Storzer and Pals in Washington, DC. This spring, Treene was once commemorated through the Freedom Discussion board as a “champion of loose expression.”
He spoke to CT about the issue of spiritual discrimination in The united states and why it’s so vital that Christians suggest for non secular freedom.
You’ve spent a large number of your profession protecting non secular land use. Why do executive officers in The united states nowadays oppose non secular land use?
Most often it’s as a result of they’re zeroed in on creating trade. Numerous what you notice is the calls for of {the marketplace} steamrolling faith.
One in every of my early circumstances, for instance, was once a church that had very sparsely amassed a number of plots of land at a key intersection, however the the town sought after Costco to have that spot. Town attempted to make use of eminent area to grab the valuables to construct a Costco.
Is it as a result of they hate church buildings? No. Time and again, what we see is discrimination towards puts of worship now not such a lot out of animus however as a result of they’d slightly have a industrial assets that’s producing tax income.
There’s the most important financial engine in our society that regularly trivializes religion. The Spiritual Land Use and Institutionalized Individuals Act (RLUIPA) is a method church buildings can ward off towards that.
One of the crucial well-known land use circumstances you labored on was once a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Sure. Once in a while the problem is animus.
Within the first 10 years after 9/11, we noticed an important build up in hate crime. Assaults in the street, vandalism of mosques, and so on. However beginning round 2010, we noticed one thing else: a pointy build up towards the development of mosques or Muslim faculties. I feel possibly it came about then as a result of Muslims laid low for a number of years after 9/11, however their communities have been increasing and wanted extra space, had to construct.
In Murfreesboro, that was once an excessively attention-grabbing case.
There was once a large number of rhetoric like “The place are those folks coming from?” when if truth be told, they have been professors from Heart Tennessee State, native pros, businessmen, folks like that who’d been renting house for his or her mosque for twenty years. They’d put down roots. They purchased some land and sought to construct.
Town licensed it. However it stuck the eye of a few citizens and others in close by counties who have been involved. That stuck nationwide consideration, and it were given spun so folks have been announcing this was once a bunch that sought after to radicalize Heart Tennessee. There was once some loopy stuff. They’d plans for a pool, and there was once rhetoric like, “Is that this pool for underwater demolition coaching?” Loopy stuff.
And there was once vandalism. Any individual firebombed a front-end loader.
An elected state pass judgement on dominated the mosque have been improperly licensed. As a result of this wasn’t a standard position of worship, it required a unique a process. We mentioned, “No, it’s important to deal with them like several position of worship; there’s no reason why to do the rest other right here, below RLUIPA.” The federal courtroom sided with us, and county officers have been ordered to forget about the state pass judgement on.
As a Christian, did you to find it arduous to give an explanation for to Christians why you have been protecting Muslims’ proper to construct a mosque?
Once in a while. I do assume, as Christians, we must consider why we consider in non secular liberty. Is it simply to profit Christians? Is it simply because it’s within the Charter? Or is it one thing extra elementary?
I feel, as Christians, it is going a lot deeper.
If you happen to pass to Scripture, such a lot of Scripture is “If you happen to consider.” Time and again there’s an emphasis on trust and there’s an concept that original religion calls for trust. It’s now not sufficient to have the federal government forcing folks. You’ll’t be stored through dwelling in a righteous kingdom. Folks should be loose to consider.
I’m going through the Westminster Confession: “God on my own is lord of moral sense and has left it loose from the doctrines and commandments of guys.”
However the issue of Islam in The united states in point of fact challenged even advocates of spiritual freedom. There have been many defenders who, when it got here to Muslims, mentioned, “Smartly I will be able to pass this a ways and no additional.”
When did you first get involved in the issue of spiritual discrimination?
In my 2d 12 months of regulation college at Harvard. We had 150 folks in my constitutional regulation magnificence, and we mentioned loose speech, and my classmates have been leaning ahead of their seats. Very energized, excited, debating. But if it got here to freedom of faith, I felt everybody sitting again.
There was once one case we mentioned involving Local American rights—it was once a case with sacred land and a logging highway that might pass instantly throughout the land, and the query was once, Does the federal government have to offer any causes for why the street is going there as a substitute of, , two miles to the west? The courtroom mentioned no, however Justice William J. Brennan wrote an impassioned dissent. He was once a hero within the loose speech circumstances. But if it got here to faith, I discovered myself the lone particular person within the magnificence protecting Brennan.
Many of us are keen to visit nice lengths to make certain that loose speech can flourish however weren’t keen to require the federal government to incur any prices to make room for faith. After that, I used to be very .
When the chance got here, I joined Becket after which, when the George W. Bush management created a unique recommend for non secular discrimination within the Division of Justice, that’s the placement I implemented for and stuffed for 19 years.
You served below 4 presidents. Did the activity exchange a lot from management to management?
Now not a lot, no. When the Obama management got here in, for instance, I used to be instructed to stay running on non secular land use circumstances, and we did simply as many evangelical circumstances as we did within the Bush management.
It adjustments at the margin, the place you’re setting up friend-of-the-court briefs. However the point of interest of the paintings didn’t exchange.
As you’ve watched non secular liberty circumstances through the years, have you ever spotted adjustments? Does the form of the warfare just about stay the similar, or has it morphed through the years you’ve been concerned?
We’ve in point of fact moved clear of the concept faith within the public sq. must be oil and water. I’m inspired through that.
However there are nonetheless problems. Presently I’m representing a large number of Orthodox Jews. They face a large number of bias. Hate crimes towards Jews have all the time been purpose for worry.
With evangelicals, it’s most commonly this industrial desire that ends up in bias, now not hostility. The only exception is the place evangelical trust conflicts with deeply held secular ideals, which is the place you get warfare with LGBT equality. I feel the problem of discovering an working out on LGBT rights and spiritual liberty is important.
Individuals are tolerant of spiritual perspectives typically, but if they intervene with deeply held secular values, folks say, “Sufficient is sufficient” and “You can not have get right of entry to.”
However non secular liberty method it’s important to create house for folks to be in error—which is absolutely biblical, through the best way. Even if any individual is fallacious, you wish to have to like them and concentrate to them and feature humility. The regulation creates that house so folks can observe their moral sense.
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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